Following the identification of significant shortfalls in the region’s agri-food sector, Ghanaian agtech, Farmerline has hopped in to offer technologies that are intended to improve farmers’ access to high-quality production inputs and education on finest farming practices, including how to effectively deal with the impacts of climate change.
Its solutions are also intended to help farmers gain faster access to markets, resulting in more profits and less post-harvest loss and waste.
Alloysius Attah and Emmanuel Owusu Addai established Farmerline in 2013. It is now set for a quick expansion, with aspirations to reach 300,000 farmers by 2022, an almost 400% growth over last year’s expansion.
It will begin its growth in Ghana before moving on to the adjacent Ivory Coast, thanks to a new $12.9 million pre-Series A investment round ($6.4 million equity and $6.5 million debt).
Greater Impact Foundation joined the equity round, which was headed by Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF) and FMO, the Dutch entrepreneurial development bank. DEG, Rabobank, Ceniarth, Rippleworks, Mulago Foundation, Whole Planet Foundation, the Netri Foundation, and Kiva were among the debt lenders.
The agtech will utilize its first equity capital to construct physical infrastructures such as warehouses and distribution networks, according to Attah.
Farmerline intends to utilize the funds to improve its infrastructures, such as warehouses and distribution networks, he added.
It’s crucial to have a network of partners who can assist the firm in quickly delivering inputs like fertilizer and seeds to remote regions, as well as agricultural produce from remote areas.
Farmerline, he claims, does not seek to bring all logistics and storage in-house, but rather wants to be more effective, which necessitates working with the proper partners.
Farmerline collaborates with agribusinesses often small retail stores that offer farm inputs to guarantee farmers have access to high-quality products. Farmerline uses these business owners, who are often the initial point of contact for farms, to disseminate educational materials and bring farmers together for learning.
The collaborating shops use Mergdata, the startup’s patented AI technology platform for supply chain intelligence, to digitize the farmers they serve and provide the data needed by agritech to forecast agricultural supply needs.
The growth and deployment of technology have been a positive development in the African agricultural system. Entrepreneurs on the continent are now fascinated by how farmers work and how they might assist in increasing output.
Cloud computing, computing systems, networking, open-source software, and other digital tools have all grown more cheap and available, lowering the challenge of acquiring farming technology. Entrepreneurs can now provide solutions for small-scale African farms at affordable prices.
Farmers who are normally out of reach owing to limitations in connectivity, literacy, or language will benefit from Farmerline’s mobile and online technologies, which will provide farming guidance, weather forecasts, market data, and financial insights.
According to Attiah, the startup’s CEO, the firm’s direct reach increased to 79,000 farmers last year, up from 36,000 in 2020 and 8,000 in 2019.
Furthermore, the agtech has digitized over 1 million farmers in 26 countries around the world through third-party licensing for Mergdata, which is now used by 180 customers including governments, non-governmental organizations, and agro-based startups to improve transparency in their supply chain and tracking. The platform is used as a national market information system in Benin, West Africa.
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